Hand reading is a fundamental skill in poker, but when you play online you can often get away with less than perfect skills of reading poker hands and logical deduction by using a HUD. A Heads Up Display unit can uncover a range of tendencies your opponent has and help your decision making process.
A HUD won’t instantly give you all the answers and make your job easy, but it will give you the means to make more informed decisions if you know what you’re doing. Indeed, there is a skill in deciphering the information and using it in an effective way.
Many online poker pros will have a large selection of stats in front of them and base almost all their decisions on these, and while this can bring them huge profits, it does little to advance their overall game. Using a HUD requires a mixture of solid hand reading and interpretation of the facts you’re presented with.
Knowing the frequencies of when a player raises pre-flop, continuations bets and folds to a 3-bet are important. Knowing how often a player check-calls the turn is less important. The thing to bear in mind when using a HUD is that it’s an aid not a solution. The essential stats you need to look out for are: VPIP (how often a player plays a hand), PFR (how often they raise pre-flop when they play), c-bet (how often they continuation bet) 3-bet (how often they re-raise pre-flop) and their aggression factor.
Having access to this information will help you to categorise your opponent and make better decisions against them in the long run. Indeed, if you notice that someone has high numbers for all these then you can assume they are an aggressive maniac. To counter this you should play a trapping style of poker and let them bet into you when you’re strong.
Using a HUD is great if you’re an online player but you need to use it in the right way. Get the balance right and you’ll increase your bankroll, get it wrong and you could seriously hamper your chances of success.